Line of Duty star Tommy Jessop and campaigner Heidi Crowter have backed the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Down Syndrome.
A number of Down Syndrome advocacy and support groups along with a cross-party group of MPs, led by SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron and Labour MP Matt Western, recently came together to launch the new APPG on Down Syndrome.
Welcoming the new APPG, Mr Jessop, who has Down Syndrome and stars in BBC’s popular Line of Duty drama as Terry Boyle, said: “I hope this will raise awareness of people living with Down Syndrome and who we really are so that we really do have a voice to speak up for ourselves and other people.
“I want to see people with Down Syndrome treated equally with others before and after they are born. We are the only group of people in the UK where people try to end our lives before we are born just because we have Down syndrome. This is not fair. It scars our lives and causes mental health problems.”
Ms Crowter, from Coventry, also welcomed the launch, saying: “We hope that the members of the All-Party Group can use their powers and their energy to help make positive change for people like me and my husband James who has Down Syndrome.”
The new group has been launched to raise issues affecting people with Down Syndrome and their families and carers, as well as to promote equality and respect at all stages of life, to campaign for equal access and support in all areas of life and to highlight the innate worth of people with Down Syndrome and the contribution they make.
APPG members will be supported by the newly-formed Down Syndrome Policy Group in the Secretariat role. The policy group is comprised of interest groups and individuals who have Down Syndrome.
Conservative MP Elliot Coburn, the group co-chair, said: “I was delighted to be asked to join the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Down Syndrome, and to become a vice chair. People with Down Syndrome deserve a strong voice in Parliament to stand up for them and their families, and to press for greater support to help with the child’s development and for the family”.
Government Minister Caroline Dinenage said she is delighted to support the APPG for Down Syndrome. “I am all in favour of action to ensure people with Down Syndrome lead healthy, active and independent lives – that their talents are recognised and their voices heard,” she said.
Nicola Enoch from the Down Syndrome Policy Group said: “We are striving to ensure that people with Down syndrome will have the opportunity to have their voices heard at Parliament. For too long their views have not been canvassed or heard; the APPG will provide a public platform for people with Down Syndrome to speak.”
Picture: Heidi Crowter. (Don’t Screen Us Out).